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Tough Economic Times May Be Helping Craft Sales


Many holiday gift givers are trying to save money by making their own gifts this year, or buying handmade gifts from others. Scrapbooks, jewelery, homemade soap, various knitted bits, etc. As a result craft stores are seeing a boom in sales. Sales of handmade crafts on eBay climbed 34 percent; and the online craft marketplace, Etsy, has been breaking records for the past 2 months. Last month, artists sold $10.8 million of goods on the site, compared to $4.2 million in November 2007.

The big craft chains are seeing profits too. The Michaels Stores chain has been selling record numbers of craft supplies and things used to make jewelry, baked goods, scrapbooks and decorated clothing. It’s going to be a Bedazzled Christmas.
Meanwhile, during this craft boom, the nation’s overall retail sales in November fell 7.4 percent from the same time last year.

Michaels has altered its marketing strategy to take advantage of the new trend this season. The company’s new advertising campaign is called “Endless Creativity, Endless Savings” and focuses on highlighting the craft supplies for handmade gifts that have been selling so well. They even started a website called Where Creativity Happens with how-to videos on making craft goods and gift ideas.

Very few people have the disposable income they’re used to this year, but they still need to feel like they did something special for the people they care about. Cue craft stuffs. Crafts have that image of being personalized. If craft stores and small scale sellers capitalize on this Christmas boom to keep the craft idea in the heads of consumers, they can hopefully keep some of their gains after the holiday season. They need to really push the idea that craft goods are more heartfelt and meaningful than the regular electronics that people get for Christmas, and hope the masses buy it.